Tracking COVID-19 Vaccines with Blockchain Technology: A New Use Case

The development of vaccines for COVID-19 has come as a sign of relief across the globe. The entire human population was eyeing the pharmaceutical industry and medical researchers for a promising solution to combat the pandemic. And, the development of vaccines within a year came as a monumental success in medical history.

However, the mass campaign to inoculate the human population against COVID-19 remained a challenge as the vaccines cannot sustain beyond certain temperatures. The vaccines need sub-zero temperatures during their storage and transport as well, otherwise rendered useless.

The Moderna vaccine needs less than 20 degrees Celsius but can be effective in 2 and 4 degrees centigrade. The Pfizer vaccine needs minus 70 degrees Celsius, whereas the AstraZeneca can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures. The pharmaceutical companies are faced with challenges to maintain the safety and efficacy of these vaccines during logistics, as it is time-and temperature-sensitive.

The logistic industry and pharmaceuticals turn their hands toward blockchain technology for shipping, storage, and tracking. Let’s understand how the researchers, pharma-industry, and third-party logistics apply blockchain to trace the data.

How does blockchain technology help in COVID-19 logistics?

Ensuring the vitality of vaccines using blockchain technology breaks new ground in history. The technology is able to deliver a crystal-clear picture of the vaccine’s supply chain from manufacturing to distribution and is helping in preventing counterfeit drugs. The logistics companies are able to show the legitimacy of the doses, their safe shipment under prescribed conditions.

The decentralized nature of blockchain helps in the coordination of the involved parties which include vaccine providers, vaccine distributors, and the public receiving the vaccine. It ensures the shipment of the vaccine under specified temperature and storage conditions.

For instance,

  • Everyware is the UK monitors the vaccines.
  • Texas-based Hedera ensures that blockchain strengthens the record-keeping and data sharing even when the logistics chain is multiple.

Let’s understand how blockchain is useful in vaccine tracking.

Benefits of using blockchain in vaccine tracking

The major benefits of using blockchain in the supply chain of vaccines are as follows.

  • Blockchain provides real-time monitoring of the company’s cold-chain, thereby preventing fraudulence. The provenance of raw materials and finished goods from production to the patient can be traced in real-time. This ultimately reduces the costs and recall, because an unfit batch can be identified then and there itself and removed.
  • Blockchain streamlines the distribution of vaccines, ensures efficacy and safety, and earns the trust of the distribution center and patients receiving the vaccine. In the case of any adverse events, all the people involved in the chain get notified. It enables the concerned team to take action quickly.
  • As blockchain technology helps in tracking the vaccine from its production area to warehouse to shipment and pick-up areas, all parties can ensure the journey of the vaccine accurately. Also, as there is no tampering of the records, all parties can trust the journey easily.
  • Counterfeit of raw materials or outdated vaccines can be tracked efficiently. Blockchain provides the highest level of accountability in the drug supply chain.

To conclude…

Leveraging blockchain technology in monitoring the supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccine brings transparency and thus leads to minimal risks. Blockchain is a boon to humanity.

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